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tv   Chairman Peter Rodino Opening Statement  CSPAN  August 5, 2014 11:21pm-11:36pm EDT

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done in a serious way or threat. i prepared myself as it was the most important case that i would ever be called on to play a role in. >> did you have any contact with the nixon white house. did the president reach out to you to say hey, these are the facts? >> i had one contact with president nixon when miss teen age america was a winner and i was asked meet with president 96on. i obviously didn't have a, that. one other time when we were brought to the white house as sort of a rally to rally around the president rally around the and support him and i attended that rally and all of the other
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committee members. >> do you remember what the president said? >> oh, i do. he gave a stemwinder about what he accomplished and what he wanted to do. how this is something he really needs to bd stand him in of i may by son of a [ expletive ] but i'm your son of a [ expletive ]. >> we're going to hear in just a moment some of the opening statements from the house judiciary committee in 1974. can you explain to our viewers, the positioning between democrat and d.c. on this committee it and their onning statemepening >> the tone was set by the chairman. he tried to appeal to the nonpartisanship as possible. clearly there were people on his
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side who were going to find richard nixon guilty of i impeachable offenses. we could see, what was the tone in which they asked questions and you could tell what was going to go in each direction with the exception of some of the democrats in the south who really found themselves in a position where the president was really supported. they tend some were hard core and others were tentative in understanding that they were in different positions as well looking at the facts. it was hard to know exactly who was going to vote each way in
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terms of the totality of the group. i think the day before when counsel m counsel railsback held that meeting in his office. the seven people who were there pretty much knew how they were going to vote 52 from the house judiciary committee. the impeachment hearings including the opening statement of the freshman republican from main, bill cohen. >> before i begin, i hope you will allow me a personal reference. throughout all of the painstaking proceedings of this committee, i as the chairman have been guarded by a principal that the law must deal fairly with every man. for me, this is the oldest
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principle of democracy. it is this simple but great principle which enables man to live decently in a free sow site. it is now 15th centuries and established this principle for the future generations of rome. generations have passed cannipa doctrine was under god and the law. almost two centuries, ago, the
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founding faerng rther of the un states reaffirmed and refined this principal so that he or no men under the law. it is only the speak our constitution. so speaks our constitution. it is under our constitution, the supreme law of our land that we proceed through the soul our we have reached a moment where we are ready to debate resolutions whether or not the committee on the judiciary should recommend that the house of representatives adopt articles calling for the impeachment of richard m. nixon. make no mistake about it. this is a turning point whatever
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we decide. our judgment is not concerned with an but wiit was been the history and the good fortune of the evident ever since the founding fathers that each generations of citizens and their officials have been within tolerable limits, faithful custodians of the constitution and of the rule of law. for almost two 00 years, every general raeg ofs of represerve r system and integrity of o constitution against emergencies to which every time is subject.
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this committee must now decide a question of the highest constitutional importance. for more than two years there have been serious allegations. by people of good faith and sou that richard nixon has created violations. last october, a number of impeachment resolutions were introduced by members of the house and referred to by the committee, the speaker. on membfebruary 6 on a vote of to 4 authored the judiciary
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committee investigated whether there were significant grounds to impeach the president of the united states. the constitution specified that the grounds for impeachment shall not be partisan consideration but treason, bieb ri, oer othand other high crime. it falls to the judiciary committee to understand even more precisely what high crimes and misdemeanor might mean in terms of the constitution and the facts before us in our time. the founding fathers clearly did not mean that a president might be impeached for mistakes even serious mistakes can he might commit in the faithful execution
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of his office but high crimes and demeanors, they meant the oe februaries defense more definitely incatability with the constitution. with the founding mothers and their determination that the lawful wrote into the constitution, a special oath that the president and only the president must take at his he inauguration and in that oath, the president swears that he will take air that the laws be faith ffully executed of the th judiciary committee for seven months has investigated whether the president has seriously abused his power in violation.
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we have investigated fully and completely, what within our constitution and traditions would be grounded for impeachment? for the past ten years, we have listened to the presentation evidence in document form to tape recordings of 19 presidential conversations and providing it to the committee. we have an opportunity to present the views of the president to this committee. we have taken care to preteg t interregulintegrity which we're now engaged. we've been patient and far and
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delibera deliberate. now the people, the house of representativ representatives, the constitution and the whole history of our republican, the man that we make up our minds. as the english states man said during an impeachment trail it is by this tribunal that states man who abuse thr were power up the large and solid principals of state morality. under the constitution under our authorization from the husbaous represe representatives this inquiry is neither a court of law or a
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partisan. >> but it is an inquiry, a judgment based on facts which must stand for all time. in his statement of april 30th, 1972, president nixon told the american people that he had been deceived by subordinates into believing had a none of his members of the complain or his personal committee were implicated in the none had participated in efforts to cover that activity. a critical question this committee must now decide was whether the president was deceived by his closest political associates or whether
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this question must be decided one way or the other. it must be decided whether the president was deceived by his subordinates into believe that his personal agents and key political associated had in the been engainedito keep those idif those responsibility and the scope of other related activities, affecting the rights of the citizens the ut or whether whether in fact nixon in violation of the sacred
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obligation of his constitutional oath has used his power for two years to cover up activity in water gate and other activities of a similar nature. in short, the committee has to decide whether in the statement of april 30th and other public ameernss, the perfects wresiden telling the truth or whether they are part a to be impudding their healthy political interest and on his behalf. there are other critical questions that must be decided. we must decide whether the president abused this power
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